Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAP-M)

The Capital Asset Pricing model is another method of determining the appropriate discount rate in business valuations. The CAP-M method originated from the Nobel Prize winning studies of Harry Markowitz, James Tobin and William Sharpe. Like the Ibbotson Build-Up method, the CAP-M method derives the discount rate by adding a risk premium to the risk-free rate. In this instance, however, the risk premium is derived by multiplying the equity risk premium times “beta,” which is a measure of stock price volatility. Beta is published by various sources (including Ibbotson Associates, which was used in this valuation) for particular industries and companies. Beta is associated with the systematic risks of an investment.

One of the criticisms of the CAP-M method is that beta is derived from the volatility of prices of publicly-traded companies, which are likely to differ from private companies in their capital structures, diversification of products and markets, access to credit markets, size, management depth, and many other respects. Where private companies can be shown to be sufficiently similar to public companies, however, the CAP-M model may be appropriate.

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